Obama Early Investors: Still Time To Get Out

I began this piece five days ago, but blog news years must be like dog years so it feels like five times seven days ago. Hillary has taught me that I should finish what I started, so here’s some of why I stand by her. It’s a heart thing. Sadly, I’m sometimes propelled by the outrageous behavior of her Democratic rival, which typifies the kind of politics as usual that he derides. Here’s my take. It’s not analysis, not based in numbers, but admittedly based in passion.

In his opening remarks in Watertown, SD on Friday afternoon, May 16, 2008, Barack Obama praised Tom Daschle as “an early investor.” (Hmm: All of those early investors. I wonder if it’s too late for them to get out?) Why do I say that?

Let’s begin with the week of the three-way, er Bush/McCain vs. Obama dog fight. Obama’s campaign speech is covered on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News in the middle of the day, to counter the President’s remarks comparing [Obama/Dems] to Nazi appeasers in WWII. There’s a nose scratch as he mentions Bush’ name.

Obama derides Bush that instead of celebrating and offering some new ideas about how to move the Middle East forward, he has targeted his remarks towards our domestic election while he’s in a foreign country, Israel, on occasion of their 60th anniversary. (true)

“Booo, Booo,” says Watertown, SD.

Obama takes the gloves off, and pontificates, as he delivers the one-two:

“So much for civility.”

He goes on [paraphrasing]: If George Bush wants to have a debate about defending the US of A . . . that is a debate I’ll have any time, any where.

Wait. Stop. Oh no heditnt. He’ll go head to head with the leader of the free world (an intellectual midget, also not running), or his presumed opponent, but he’s afraid to go head to head with a girl? (Sorry, but I’m making a point here.) Obama declined to debate Hillary on a flat bed truck. He declined an invitation for a 1/2 hour slot in a Portland Town Hall, so Hillary was offered and snagged the whole hour. Besides that . . . so much for a new style of politics.

In his speech on that day, Obama names every modern American Democratic President–Truman, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Carter–except Bill Clinton as an example of US diplomacy successes. I felt really embarrassed that he treated Bill that way, and I think it’s endemic in his campaign. If I were Bill, I’d be furious about now. Why didn’t he list Bill Clinton for his administration’s Middle East, Ireland, and Bosnia diplomatic efforts? (Wouldn’t that have been the generous thing to do, just as Hillary stood with you in pushing back at Bush?) Every President but Clinton? It was just plain rude. Yes, Clinton made mistakes, so have they all. The black community still loved him, despite or perhaps because of his transgressions, for years they loved him. And now, he’s like dirt in same community? Who caused that, who spread that through the electorate? Obama did. Bill Clinton took our country to unprecedented heights on many levels. But to hear Obama, it was as if he’d been wiped off the map. Goose gander.

Obama goes for direct hits on McCain/Bush: Israel, Iran, McCain’s 100 year Iraq war, tough vs. weak stances, talk, and negotiations.

The reason Bush attacked Obama (and why Obama thought as much) was due to his stance in the debates in opposition to Hillary Clinton. Obama said he would sit down with our enemies, including terrorist and rogue nations unconditionally. Hillary disagreed. She said there absolutely would have to be pre-conditions and that the President would not be part of those lower level meetings until certain standards were met, that it would be foolish to do otherwise. I didn’t hear that mentioned at all in the news on Thursday when the story broke via Bush’s Knesset speech. Then Hillary HAD to support him, but her stance was, and still is, that she would talk to those terrorist-controlled nations with pre-conditions. I support that.

Hillary and Bill weren’t even mentioned in this tussle. Nor did Obama have the good political manners to thank Ms. Clinton for taking the gracious stance on his and the party’s behalf in her statement when the story broke.

“The change that we’re sinking, seeking” — I swear he said that.

Then it turned into a town hall, where a local asked a family farm question, fuel, input costs. He was in bad shape financially, hope-wise. In response, Obama tried to do a Hillary move, which is to listen and be compassionate. The news was beginning to cut away for comments, but I could hear the gist:

Obama listened and repeated exactly what the young farmer had said, “Your prices have gone up, just like those at the pump.”

Wow, that’s a revelation, and an amazing summation.

A fourth generation rancher talked about how all the kids leave the ranches and farms, because they can’t make it, there’s nothing for them there.

Obama’s response, summarizing again, “Capital considerations are prohibitive.”

Dude was all business, pure corporate businessman. I didn’t see an ounce of compassion, and the speakers just sat there looking kind of uncomfortable. Take two aspirin, call me in the morning. I didn’t feel any heart swells, no glorious answers from above, especially no violins, none at all. Farmers, ranchers whose families had lived there for hundreds of years, really pouring out their troubles to him. It was like: Losing the farm. Check. Gas costs are breaking us. Check. It’s so bad that our kids don’t want to carry on in their family business, and we’re afraid of losing it all. Check.

The depth and breadth of Hillary’s heart makes me feel better. I think they would have felt better had she been the one to answer. Then in her typical fashion, she’d offer them some real solutions instead of parroting back their problems. That’s old school for you.

Early investors, I want you to know, you can get out; it’s not too late. You can change your vote.

The interesting thing about being invisible is that you can be stealthy, and use it to your advantage. We used to say that if parents aren’t in agreement, kids will find the holes and run roughshod through them. Things are getting reversed, and Bill and Hillary have proved not to be the establishment but the kids. Idealistic at heart, but wizened enough to have actual plans to back it up.

It’s been well noted that Hillary’s gigantic 41 point West Virginia win was stomped on by Edwards’ endorsement, followed by the aforementioned 3-way. The cherry was when Campbell Brown and many other anchors? at CNN and MSNBC were calling last week, right after Sen. Clinton’s trouncing of Obama, “the first week of the national election between Obama and McCain.” Oh, and then she trounced him again last night, May 20, in Kentucky taking 65.5 to his 30 percent of the vote.

Women and men rallied to her side. None of us could believe ourselves, but independently people were coming to their own conclusions and talking about it. The DNC, who stood by when MI and FL could have resolved ages ago, was warned: You are about to have a voter revolt on your hands.

Hillary in Boca: The Voters Rule (video)

[splashcast MZDD5390PV]

May 21, 2008

Boca Raton, FL

Hillary Champions The Will of the People

(Full text, with intros abridged.)

“Now, this year’s presidential election is like none other in history. And we have had more people engaging and volunteering, casting their ballots, than ever before. Everywhere I go, people tell me, “I’ve never given money to a campaign in my life; this year is different. I’ve never followed an election before; this time I can’t stop watching.” And there’s a reason for that. With our economy in crisis, and with two wars and our children’s future in the balance, more people than ever before are taking politics seriously.

I happen to welcome that because this is a democracy, and we’ve all got to participate. In fact, we want more democracy, not less democracy. We want more people taking a part in the selection of their president.

Here in Florida, more than 1.7 million people cast their vote, the highest primary turnout in the history of Florida. And nearly 600,000 voters in Michigan did the same. And not a day goes by that I don’t meet someone who grabs my hand or holds up a sign, no matter where I am, in Kentucky or anywhere else, and says, “Please, make my vote count.”

I receive dozens and dozens of letters and emails and phone calls, every couple of hours it seems like, all making the same urgent request: please count my vote. We used to be worried about voter apathy, didn’t we? We worried why Americans didn’t participate. Now, people are worried that their participation won’t matter.

I believe the Democratic Party must count these votes. They should count them exactly as they were cast. Democracy demands no less.

I am here today because I believe that the decision our party faces is not just about the fate of these votes and the outcome of these primaries. It is about whether we will uphold our most fundamental values as Democrats and Americans. It is about whether we will move forward, united, to win this state and take back the White House this November. That has to be the prize that we keep in mind.

Because here in America, unlike in many other nations, we are bound together, not by a single shared religion or cultural heritage, but by a shared set of ideas and ideals, a shared civic faith, that we are entitled to speak and worship freely, that we deserve equal justice under the law, that we have certain core rights that no government can abridge and these rights are rooted in and sustained by the principle that our founders set forth in the Declaration of Independence. That a just government derives its power from the consent of the governed, that each of us should have an equal voice in determining the destiny of our nation. A generation of patriots risked and sacrificed lives on the battlefield for that ideal.

The union they ultimately formed was far from perfect. It excluded many of our citizens; people like Congresswoman Brown, me, my daughter. But it was an ideal that set forth a goal that we have consistently worked for.

Fortunately, in each successive generation, this nation was blessed by men and women who refused to accept their assigned place as second-class citizens. Men and women who saw America not as it was, but as it could and should be, and committed themselves to extending the frontiers of our democracy. The abolitionists and all who fought to end slavery and ensure freedom came with the full right of citizenship. The tenacious women and a few brave men who gathered at the Seneca Falls convention back in 1848 to demand the right to vote.

It took more than 70 years of struggle, setbacks, and grinding hard work and only one of those original suffragists lived to see women cast their ballots. There are women here today – as with my own mother – who were born before the Constitution granted us the right to vote. This is not something lost in the mists of memory and history; this is real. The generations here in this room have seen change. The men and women who knew their Constitutional right to vote meant little when poll taxes and literacy tests, violence, and intimidation made it impossible to exercise their right, so they marched and protested, faced dogs and tear gas, knelt down on that bridge in Selma to pray and were beaten within an inch of their lives.

Some gave their lives to the struggle for a more perfect union. There is a reason why so many have fought so hard and sacrificed so much. It is because they knew that to be a citizen of this country is to have the right and responsibility to help shape its future, not just to make your voice heard, but to have it count. People have fought hard because they knew their vote was at stake and so was their children’s future. Because of those who have come before, Senator Obama and I and so many of you have this precious right today. Because of all that has been done, we are in this historic presidential election. I believe that both Senator Obama and myself have an obligation as potential Democratic nominees – in fact, we all have an obligation as Democrats – to carry on this legacy and ensure that in our nominating process every voice is heard and every single vote is counted.

This work to extend the franchise to all of our citizens is a core mission of the modern Democratic Party, from signing the voting rights act and fighting racial discrimination at the ballot box, to lowering the voting age so those old enough to fight and die in war would have the right to choose their Commander-in-Chief, to fighting for multi-lingual ballots so you can make your voice heard no matter what language you speak. I am proud of our work today. We are fighting the redistricting initiatives that would dilute African American and Latino votes. We are fighting efforts to purge voters from the rolls here in Florida and elsewhere. We are fighting voter identification laws that could wrongly keep tens of thousands of voters from casting their ballots this November.

We carry on this cause for a simple reason, because we believe the outcome of our elections should be determined by the will of the people – nothing more, nothing less.

We believe the popular vote is the truest expression of your will. We believe it today, just as we believed it back in 2000 when right here in Florida, you learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren’t counted and the candidate with fewer votes is declared the winner. The lesson of 2000 here in Florida is crystal clear. If any votes aren’t counted, the will of the people is not realized and our democracy is diminished. That is what I have always believed.

My first job in politics was on the 1972 presidential campaign registering African-American and Hispanic voters in Texas. That work took me from home to home in neighborhood after neighborhood. I was determined to knock on every door and sign up every voter I could find. While we may not have won that election, I have never given up the fight. It is a fight I continue to this day.

Because I think it is appalling that in the 21st century, voters are still being wrongly turned away from the polls, ballots are still mysteriously lost in state after state, African-American and Hispanic voters still wait in line for hours while voters in the same state, even in the same county can wait just minutes to cast their votes. That’s why I’ve been working since 2004 with my dear friend Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones to pass the Count Every Vote Act; comprehensive voting rights legislation designed to end these deplorable violations. It will ensure that every eligible voter can vote, every vote is counted, and every vote can verify his or her vote before it is finally cast.

I will continue to fight for that same principle every day in this campaign. The fact is, the people of Florida voted back in January. You did your part. You showed up in record numbers and you made informed choices. But today, some months later, you still do not know if these votes will help determine our party’s nominee. You still don’t know if this great state will be represented at our convention in August. It is time you knew, because the more than 2.3 million people who voted in Florida and Michigan exercised their fundamental American right in good faith. You watched the news. You went to the candidates’ web sites, you talked to your friends and neighbors, you learned about our records and policies so you could make informed voting decisions. You didn’t break a single rule, and you should not be punished for matters beyond your control.

Now, I know that Senator Obama chose to remove his name from the ballot in Michigan, and that was his right. But his choice does not negate the votes of all those who turned out to cast their ballots, and we should not let our process rob them and all of you of your voices. To do so would undermine the very purpose of the nominating process. To ensure that as many Democrats as possible can cast their votes. To ensure that the party selects a nominee who truly represents the will of the voters and to ensure that the Democrats take back the White House to rebuild America.

Now, I’ve heard some say that counting Florida and Michigan would be changing the rules. I say that not counting Florida and Michigan is changing a central governing rule of this country – that whenever we can understand the clear intent of the voters, their votes should be counted. I remember very well back in 2000, there were those who argued that people’s votes should be discounted over technicalities. For the people of Florida who voted in this primary, the notion of discounting their votes sounds way too much of the same.

The votes of 1.7 million people should not be cast aside because of a technicality. The people who voted did nothing wrong, and it would be wrong to punish you. As the Florida Supreme Court said back in 2000, before the United States Supreme Court took the case away from them, as your Supreme Court said, it’s not about the technicalities or about the contestants. It’s about the will of the people. And whenever you can understand their intent, it should govern. It’s very clear what 1.7 million people intended here in Florida. Playing a role in the nominating process in a two-party system is just as important as having a vote in the presidential election on Election Day count.

We know it was wrong to penalize voters for the decisions of state officials back in the 2000 presidential election. It would be wrong to do so for decisions made in our nominating process. Democrats argued passionately. We are still arguing, aren’t we, for counting all the votes back in 2000, and we should be just as passionately arguing for that principle today, here in Florida and in Michigan. It is well within the Democratic Party rules to take this stand. The rules clearly state that we can count all of these votes and seat all of these delegates, pledged and unpledged, if we so choose. And the rules lay out a clear process for doing so.

With this process, if hope we will honor the will of those who came out to cast votes. Think of how that day was. Workers who rushed to the polls between shifts; students who came between classes, parents who rearranged their family’s schedules, senior citizens who arranged transportation to the polls, all so you could have your votes counted. And whether you voted for better schools for your kids or a secure retirement for your parents, for jobs you can raise a family on, for health care you can afford, to bring your son, your grandson, your daughter or your granddaughter back from Iraq or bring back America’s reputation in the world. Whether you voted for me or Senator Obama or Senator Edwards or someone else, each vote you cast is a prayer for our nation, a declaration of your dreams for your children and grandchildren; a reflection of your determination to ensure that our country lives up to its promise. Each vote is a tool, one used throughout history to break barriers, open doors, and widen the circle of opportunity.

I remember when President Lyndon Johnson addressed the Congress and the nation urging the passage of the Voting Rights Act. He declared, “I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.” It was urgent, elevated language, but it was not hyperbole. Now, as back then, those are the stakes. That’s why here in Florida, even when you were told your primary might not count, you voted anyway.

A Floridian I know from Tallahassee told me about his mother’s canasta club. It’s a group of women in their golden years who gather every week to play cards and visit. They talked about that Florida primary every week as they gathered around the card table. They followed the news closely. They discussed the candidates and their positions on the issues. They knew about the dispute over the primary schedule and the question of seating delegates. And when it came time to vote, like so many other good citizens of this state, the ladies of the canasta club dutifully cast their ballots for the candidates of their choice. They made informed choices. They did nothing wrong, and they should not be punished for doing their civic duty.

You knew then what Americans know, that this political process of ours is about more than the candidates running, the pundits commenting or the ads blaring. It’s about the path we choose as a nation. If anyone ever doubted whether it mattered who our president was, the last seven years with George Bush should have removed every single doubt from anyone’s mind.

That’s why you voted, and that’s why I’m running. And that’s why you’ve been organizing and raising your voices, hoping to have your votes count. You refused to stay home then, and you refuse to stay silent now. Because you want to change America’s future and you have faith that your party, the Democratic Party, will give you that chance. I’m here today because I believe we should keep that faith, listen to your voices and count every single one of your votes. If we fail to do so, I worry that we will pay not only a moral cost, but a political cost as well.

We know the road to a Democratic White House runs right through Florida and Michigan. And if we care about winning those states in November, we need to count your votes now. If Democrats send the message that we don’t fully value your votes, we know Senator McCain and the Republicans will be more than happy to have them. The Republicans will make a simple and compelling argument. Why should Florida and Michigan voters trust the Democratic Party to look out for you when they won’t even listen to you?

Now, if you agree with me, I urge you to go to my website, HillaryClinton.com, and join the more than 300,000 who have already signed our petition asking the Democratic National Committee to count your votes. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the territories will have a chance to play a role in this historic process. Now is not the time for our party to have a dialogue about which states and which votes should count. The people of Florida are all too familiar with where that discussion can lead. In the end, we cannot move forward as a united party if some members of our party are left out. Senator Obama and I are running to be president of all Americans and all 50 states. And I want to be sure that all 50 states are counted and your delegates are seated at our convention.

So will you join me in making sure your voices are raised and heard so that your votes can be counted? Because remember, it’s been the mission of the Democratic Party, guided always by the understanding that as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “the ultimate rulers of our democracy are not the president, the senators, the members of Congress and government officials, but the voters of this country.” In this Democratic Party, the voters rule. So let’s make sure your voices are heard and your votes are counted.

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America.”

“It’s About the Will of the People”

Boca Raton, FL —

Today, May 21, 2008, Sen. Hillary Clinton gave an in-depth, major speech focused on voters’ rights, voicing her conviction that “it’s about the will of the people.” Clinton made powerful points about the Florida and Michigan primary votes cast, her first job as a voting rights activist, voter history and rights, voter fraud and disenfranchisement, the importance of Florida in the general election (past and present), and her ideas about passing a Voting Rights Bill. CNN, MSNBC, and FOX all covered the speech live, in its entirety. I will post the video as soon as a copy is available.

Change, Right Here in River City

Meredith Wilson’s, The Music Man, one of my favorite old-time musicals, crept up in my turntable brain yesterday and is now firmly stuck there. The incomparable late Robert Preston, who stars as “Confidence Man” Harold Hill in the 1962 movie, sings “Trouble, Right Here In River City.” Lest you think I’m calling names out of school, I’m not equating the the words in the song to Obama. However, the musical itself deals with a slick salesman who wins over a town with his high-gloss pitch. In listening to Obama’s Big Speeches that describe problems but offer no concrete solutions, I fear we’ve got trouble.

Change: It’s not just about big speeches for change. Obama did not win Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia. How can he cross the finish line in the general election? Obama lost some Kentucky precincts 77% to 17%.

Clinton Kentucky Crusher Part 2

Part 2 of Hillary Clinton’s March 20, 2008 Presidential Primary victory speech in Louisville, KY where the “nominee whoever she may be” spoke to her jubilant supporters.

Kentucky has a knack for picking Presidents — this state delivered two terms to a President named Clinton . . . and it’s often been said that as Kentucky goes so goes the nation.

Neither Senator Obama nor I has won the 2,010 delegates required to secure the nomination, and because this race is so close, still separated by less than 200 delegates out of more than 4,400, neither Senator Obama nor I will have reached that magic number when the voting ends on June 3. So our party will have a tough choice to make:

Who’s ready to lead our paty at the top of the ticket?

Who is ready to defeat Senator McCain in the swing states and among swing voters?

Who’s ready to rebuild the economy, end the war in Iraq, protect our national security as Commander in Chief?

Who is ready on day one to lead?

Clinton Clinches Kentucky!

Kentucky crusher:

Clinton 449,145 65%

Obama 209,771 30%

658,916 Total votes

Hillary Clinton gave a rousing victory speech as she clinched the Kentucy primary.

What propels us is the struggle to realize America’s promise.

In her speech, we are here to fulfill the ideals our founders promised to uphold.

Senator Ted Kennedy is one of the greatest progressive leaders in our party’s history and one of the most effective leaders in our country’s history. He is my friend, and he is my inspiration. . . five extraordinary decades of service to our country . . . He’s been with us in our fights, and we’re with him now in his.

Important victory . . . sound of your overwhelming vote of confidence. Some have said your votes didn’t matter and the campaign was over. . .that every vote shouldn’t count, but that didn’t stop you. You didn’t give up on me, and I’ll never give up on you.

We’re winning the popular vote.

Please go to HillaryClinton.com

Election Sexism Discussion Surfaces in MSM, NY Times

On May 19, 2008, news outlets were consumed by three major stories: The KY, OR primaries, sexism in the campaign process, and Ted Kennedy’s sad, serious gliomal brain tumor diagnosis.

The previous evening, ABC’s Nightline broadcast a story about women voters who feel disenfranchised by the handling of this election on many fronts. (If you’re new to this issue, please see just about everything I’ve posted since inception of this blog.) Here’s the segment, courtesy of Taylor Marsh on YouTube.

It was followed by a reemergence of Geraldine Ferraro and other interviews on ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX. (Sorry there’s too much to keep up with to cook all those links for you. Everybody’s on their own for dinner, kids.)

Check our this brand new video report posted in May 21, 2008 NY Times, “Hillary Clinton and Women Voters” subtitled, “A new poll and interviews reveal a complicated relationship between Hillary Rodham Clinton and the group many view as her base.”

Oh, and now, at about midnight, Fox News’ Juan Williams is talking about how she’s taken off as an underdog candidate, propelled by the women voters!